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Leith Fire Brigade MacDonald Road - Merged Threads

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  #1  
Old 30th March 2006, 16:12
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paul0510 paul0510 is offline  
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Leith Fire Brigade.......

......ran fire-fighting courses for Mariners in a mock-up ship's superstructure and engine room. I was sent to be singed alive twice within a couple of years by BP and although I came away with burned wrists and ear-lobes like bubble-wrap on both occasions, I really came to appreciate the dangers of fire on board....and those who help to put 'em out.
Sifting through some old memorabilia dated early 7th Decade of the last century, I came across two group photos of participants (or part-icipants, the icipants like myself having left part of themselves in the blazing infernos) coughing and spluttering in front of said 'ship'. If anybody is interested, I'll scan 'em tonight and put them into the Members' Fizzog gallery for scrutiny. Maybe you were mad enough to have accompanied me.
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Old 30th March 2006, 17:11
benjidog benjidog is offline
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Paul,

Doesn't sound like much fun but it is always better when someone else is suffering rather than yourself so please upload them!

Brian
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  #3  
Old 30th March 2006, 18:22
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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Paul

Was there in around 1971 - I think.

Was it not at "MacDonald Road fire station. ?.

JC
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  #4  
Old 30th March 2006, 18:27
Jeff Egan Jeff Egan is offline
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did mine at Speke airport in Liverpool came away without my fringe worst bit for me was the smoke filled mock up of a ship pitch dark full of smoke and the doors dogged down.
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Old 30th March 2006, 18:38
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MacDonald Road

Paul,

I also did a firefighting course at MacDonald Road, Leith.
What an experience and probably one of the most valuable courses any of us did. The severity of the course gradually increased as the week progressed.
On the first morning we studied a model and walked round the unit in daylight to become familiar with our surroundings. After lunch, the unit was filled with smoke and we were told about the inch of clear air lying at deck level. We had to follow a prescribed route through the unit without BA and the instructors warned us that they would know if we had been hugging the deck in order to breathe the clean air because we would have soot ingrained on the tips of our noses. They were right, every one of us looked like Black and White Minstrels when we emerged from the exercise.
On the second day we were introduced to the BA and spent an exhausting hour charging up and down the training tower – what fun! In the afternoon we were back into the smoked filled unit with BA but without torches!
Wednesday morning we were back in the smoke filled unit with BA and a torch – what comfort we got from those torches – you couldn’t see bugger all but somehow you felt safer.
Other highlights of the week were flash fires from the Galley, recovering the heaviest dummy I have ever seen from cabin spaces, and the final exercise of course which was a cracker. This one involved an oil fire on the engine room bottom plates. Access was from above, across a grating, which conveniently had a blazing oil trough and a load of burning pallets placed directly underneath it. This was the exercise where you could feel the tops of your ears popping into blisters as soon as you set foot in the engine room.
Like you, I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Please post your photographs – you never know some of us may recognise the participants.
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  #6  
Old 30th March 2006, 19:21
cymruman cymruman is offline  
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remember Mcdonald road well, after the first exercise, the smoke and no BA one we all fell out of the unit coughing and spluttering, eyes and noses running, and just glad to be in some fresh air, when one of our group sits down and lights up a fag.
The same guy was chopsing off about how easy it was to hold the fire hose, guess who got to try holding it on his own as the smiling fireman cranked on the water, yep he ended up soaked to the skin flat on his back, of course we all rushed in to help him (after a few minutes lol)
Never forgot that course though it was 4 days long and one of the better courses we did. ( Also did a nuclear war plan course in Glasgow but maybe someone will start a new thread on that one ).
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Old 30th March 2006, 19:29
fredkinghorn fredkinghorn is offline
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Well well my children, now you know what fred and then gang put you all through.
we had to do the same thing many times, it is all changed now , due I suppose to the so-called Health and Safety Regs.
Many times I led my crews through the " ship" as we called it on regular exercises.
Did any of you ever go through the " Tunnel " where you had to take the B.A. set off your back and push it through first as there wasn't enough space with it on your back.? If your ears weren't singed when the exercise was finished, you hadn't done it properly. Do you remember going down the " fiddley " to get the dummy and after putting as line around it, trying to drag and push the damn thing up again?

fred

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Old 30th March 2006, 19:37
cymruman cymruman is offline  
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Yes I remember it well now you mention it, We were told after that the fireman was never more than 10 feet away, was that true.
Couldnt see a great deal at the time, and all i could hear was my breathing through the BA. That was a hell of a week, how you guys did it day after day beats me but I bet you had a good laugh at some of us especially the Macho types who thought they were the dogs sphericals.
Is that course still running or has it been tamed down as most things seem to be these days thanks to good old H&S
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Old 30th March 2006, 19:44
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I was there 1976, still got the certificate. Left there without an earring and never wore one again. Anybody any pics of that era. Also what about the bars in leith walk at that time!!
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Old 30th March 2006, 19:44
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The only fire fighting course I ever took part in was on the Royal Mail ship Pardo, half way from London to Rio, the Old Man had a brainwave, he decided to try out some antiquated contraption supposed to be used for a fire on ship, well seeing as I was the youngest crew member, it was decided that I would be put into this thing that went over my head, it had a glass front panel that could be screwed shut and an air pipe attached to some kind of hand pump, the 1st mate shut the front and gave the thumbs up for the pumping to commence, immediately my vision was cut off along with my air supply, the bloody thing must have hardly ever been used and the pipe or hood was full of sand or fine dust! there I was, choking, completely blind, holding an axe that was as big as me and was supposed to go into a fire to save my ship mates! thank God there never was a real fire and that thing never had to be used, really funny thinking about it now, Mac.
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  #11  
Old 30th March 2006, 20:06
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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Macdonald Road Fire Training Centre

There was I thinking Fred Kinghorn was a nice guy and it turns out he could have been one of those sadistic so and so's that ran these fire courses.
I consider I was one of the lucky ones that did my first course at South Shields - positively tame, then subsequent courses at Montrose.
While they could be tough the instructors there generally used the centre as a way to get jobs as Fire & Safety Officers in the offshore oil industry (the average time an instructor hoped to stay at Montrose was about two years)
So they did not want to harm their prospects at future oil company interviews if you see what I mean.
Fred is quite right though in his thoughts that the courses may have been tamed down now. - Some would say perhaps by too much, apart that is for the courses set for specialist fire teams. - many of these guys in the company I worked for revelled in the specialist fire team courses that they did annually. They had the advantage of being a team and working as such rather than the bunch of strangers that attend other courses.

My apologies Fred.
ps did you have to go through that daft ritual that they did at Montrose where instructers had to change into white uniform shirts after a hot and sweaty time on the fireground?

Last edited by Jim S; 30th March 2006 at 20:09.. Reason: addition to text
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  #12  
Old 30th March 2006, 20:23
fredkinghorn fredkinghorn is offline
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I remember years ago, the Oi/c asking a course if they had enjoyed the experience.
to a man they said " Yes "
His next remark was " well if you want to enjoy your f******g selves, you should have gone to the f*****g pictures "

the Instructors had to have a shower and put on clean kit for the de-brief.
did you all like the Siebe Goeman Mk2 ?

fred.

" when the flame of love dies, smoke gets in your eyes "
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  #13  
Old 30th March 2006, 20:59
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MacDonald Road

As mentioned in my earlier posting, our introduction to lugging BA sets around was charging up and down the tower.
I vividly remember an "old" fisherman ( well, I was only in my mid twenties) who was completely knackered during this exercise. He had a BA set with a squeaky demand valve, which used to 'phaaaart' during each inhalation and we discovered him sitting on a step part way up the tower gasping for breath. We all collapsed with a fit of the giggles and had to remove our masks when we noticed that he had spat out his false teeth which were rattling about in the bottom of his mask !
Considering we had ample opportunity to learn our way around the unit during our course, we were still getting lost at the end of the week. We truly respected our firefighters by the end of the course since we could appreciate the difficulties they faced when entering a burning property or vessel which they had never clapped eyes on before.
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  #14  
Old 30th March 2006, 21:02
Jim S Jim S is offline   SN Supporter
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Macdonald Road Fire Training Centre

Fred,
You mentioned the tunnell exercise - I recall the story concerning one of my colleagues, a former tanker captain, this guy was built like the proverbial brick outhouse, in fact he was known as the "Jolly Green Giant" He was not so jolly when he got stuck in the tunnel and apparantly came bursting out of it like the " Incredible Hulk"

The Mk2 Siebe Gorman was that with or without the positive pressure face mask?
At South Shields the helmets were WW2 ARP types, I knocked mine on something, displaced the seal on the non-positive pressure face mask and got a lungful or two of smoke which made the eyes water.
On this same course prior to one of the first exercises to familiarise us to a smokey environment the old "smoke eater" instructer entered the container to light the fire - there was a big bang, door burst open and a dazed looking instructer staggered out looking like something from a cartoon - how that filled us with confidence.
Regards
Jim S
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Old 30th March 2006, 21:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredkinghorn
Well well my children, now you know what fred and then gang put you all through.
we had to do the same thing many times, it is all changed now , due I suppose to the so-called Health and Safety Regs.
Many times I led my crews through the " ship" as we called it on regular exercises.
Did any of you ever go through the " Tunnel " where you had to take the B.A. set off your back and push it through first as there wasn't enough space with it on your back.? If your ears weren't singed when the exercise was finished, you hadn't done it properly. Do you remember going down the " fiddley " to get the dummy and after putting as line around it, trying to drag and push the damn thing up again?

fred

" I don't want to set the world on fire "
Fred,
Yes, I remember both those exercises. What an experience!
I also remember on the Friday engine room exercise being aware that my hands were "boiling" inside my soaked gloves. I stood waving my hands about in the blistering heat and was even aware of blowing on them to cool them down - with a BA mask on ......... doh!
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Old 30th March 2006, 23:07
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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Amazing how one comment brings back all those memories.
I too did that firefighting course at McDonald road and although I did many more through the years considered that the best all round course I was ever on.
Even had the high expansion foam to fill the cargo hold.
Rememeber that we wore the B.A. constantly and after a day of exercises taking it off felt as though an elephant was lifted from your back.
One instructer would check your air reserve when you came out of the mock up and if you had any left made you climb the tower.
Guess they were like the U.S. Marine colour sargents and were specially trained so they would get the best out of you.
One guy had to quite as he had a heart attack.
Many attending the course stayed at a local hotel but I lived nearby and went home every night. (Hence did not have a hang over next day)
Had a bath when I got home and one evening fell asleep I was so knackered.
Got the photo too and as I knew it was going to be done cleaned my hard hat so I was the only one that was white & readily stood out.
The lessons learnt there lasted me all me seagoing career and even when at home I had a fire escape plan for the family.
Wish I knew how to post thumbnails as I would do a couple

Last edited by lakercapt; 30th March 2006 at 23:09..
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  #17  
Old 31st March 2006, 09:34
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Black Todger of Salford exposed!!!

Word is out, Sentence was getting on his nerves, that the true identity of the nefarious Black Todger of Salford, famed for his exploits on both sides of ye olde Mancunian Waterwaye, is none other than a certain Noxious Fume of McDonald Road in ye olde burgh of Leith. Teased into the open by his hairdresser Helmut Purple, Fume fumed at his captors imprecating 'blood, snot and tears' upon their offspring should they ever tarry twixt Tunnel and Fiddley.
So, gentlemen.....and Fred, I guess by now you've all had a butchers at the mugshots I posted last night? Recognise anybody? Mr. Cassels, Sir? Fred, you hanging out here somewhere..Black Todgers usually do.
So enough of this smut 'tis time for a smoke.

Fred...first and last time I ever accepted a Kleenex from a man. Aaatissue.
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  #18  
Old 31st March 2006, 13:20
WLH WLH is offline
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Re MacDonald Road Fire Station, also did course, with two photographs, will dig them out and post same.
Regards.............WLH
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  #19  
Old 1st April 2006, 07:29
fredkinghorn fredkinghorn is offline
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Things move on, I'm led to believe that MacDonald Road Fire Station will be closed and sold in the next few years. they are going through a " modernisation? " at the moment and a new one will be built down at the docklands area.
The wheel goes round as they say, when I joined the Brigade the Fire Station was at the dock area, that was closed and they built Macdonald Road!
I will be back down there on Tuesday evening so, I'll stand in front of the " Ship " and give her all your regards.


fred.


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Old 1st April 2006, 07:46
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dom

if the halfway house or albert bar is still there have one for me,clancys, red lion boundry bar,black bull,moirs,
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Old 17th October 2007, 14:38
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McDonald Road (Leith) Revival....

..since I uploaded these two pictures over 1 1/2 years ago (taken in 1971 and '73), membership has sky-rocketed and the number of photos has risen to over the 80,000 mark!.
Only a few weeks ago, BlytheSpirit, who has been a member for almost a year, finally stumbled on the photos and has identified himself. Not only that, Keith (aka Offcum..diddlydum!) boggled at his own fizzog staring at him from way back! Which has put 3 of us, including myself, on a picture taken 34 years ago amongst a group of 20-30 other masochists...just look at that sexy gear, man!
So, study these faces hard all you newbies, (don't you just hate that word? I mean, of course, Newly Assigned Members but, thereagain, who would like to be referred to as a Namby?) put some hair back on your bonces, you could find yourself amongst the élite. One member, or should I say ex-member (?) 'fredkinghorn' , haven't seen him around for ages, was an instructor here and also the guy who dished-out the paper snot-rags (insider knowledge).

Click here for photo taken in 1971
or here for the photo taken in 1973

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Old 20th October 2007, 03:48
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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I think I have one of the photo's when I did the course in 1967?
Will see if I can find it. Were well and truely knackered at the end of each day I remember that!!!
When we were told about the photo op I cleaned my helmet and it showed out white amongst the others
Bill

Have tried to download a thumbnail with no luck and fid out I can't do in in the gallery HELP

Last edited by lakercapt; 21st October 2007 at 01:08..
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  #23  
Old 20th October 2007, 08:55
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakercapt View Post
I think I have one of the photo's when I did the course in 1967?
Will see if I can find it. Were well and truely knackered at the end of each day I remember that!!!
When we were told about the photo op I cleaned my helmet and it showed out white amongst the others
Bill

Bill , I was also on the course around that time . It was at the same time
as one of the conflicts between the Israelis and Egyptians , but can't
remember if this was '67 or '68.
Look forward to seeing the photo.
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Old 21st October 2007, 00:47
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I can't remember the exact date I was on the course - must have been late 60's/early 70's. We had proper firemen's helmets then.That's me third from left back row. Anyone else care to own up.

Derek
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  #25  
Old 21st October 2007, 08:53
John Cassels John Cassels is offline  
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I can't remember the exact date I was on the course - must have been late 60's/early 70's. We had proper firemen's helmets then.That's me third from left back row. Anyone else care to own up.

Derek

Is that Bert Buckley middle front row ?. Any other ex Denholm members
care to comment ?.
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